Learning SharePoint – Part I

I am on a special project that requires I do a deep dive into SharePoint and fast.  I told my director that I would be blogging as I learn, if only to force me to repeat everything I learn so it all sticks!  

I have been using SharePoint since its inception and have done a bit of development, primarily consuming SharePoint web services to integrate list data with other system. Aside from one experiment webpart, I haven’t done much else.  I have a lot to learn.

So, I am starting this Learning SharePoint series today.

Manually Building and Deploying a Webpart

My first task, after reading over 100 articles last week and yesterday, is to build a web part.  There are tools in Visual Studio and elsewhere that automate much of the construction and deployment, but using these tools in the beginning means I never really understand the internals.  I am building a web part from scratch and deploying it manually.

My reading has taught me that the right way to deploy a web part is to deploy it to the Bin directory and setup CAS, but for getting started, I am using the “Ghetto Deploying” method, as Corey Roth calls it.  A Ghetto Deploy is a GAC deployment.  Later in the post, I will talk about doing deployment using a SharePoint solution.

I created my basic web part class library, created a .webpart file, and compiled the project.  Great, no problems.  I use a handy post-build event to register the build output in the GAC:

"C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v6.0A\bin\gacutil.exe" /f /i $(TargetPath)

I could use IISRESET to purge the webpart, but that is a bit brutal.  Instead, I use another handy utility called “iisap.vbs” to simply recycle the SharePoint app pool from the post-build event.  That looks like this:

cscript.exe c:\windows\system32\iisapp.vbs /a "SharePoint - 80" /r

Next, I have to add the webpart assembly to the safe control list in web.config.

I got hung up here for about ten minutes. 


I got that resolved by namespacing the webpart type correctly.  Here is the final entry in web.config

   1: <SafeControl 
   2:     Assembly="Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts.IdeaBrowser, Version=, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=24e5f12c55dad2a2" 
   3:     Namespace="Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts" 
   4:     TypeName="IdeaBrowser" 
   5:     Safe="True" />

Remember, attribute names are CASE SENSITIVE.

I am able to preview the webpart in the gallery:

image c

Debugging a Webpart

Debugging webparts is easy enough; just attach to the correct instance of w3wp.exe.  I am going to write a better macro which attaches to the correct instance, but for now I am using Steve Connell’s macro to attach to all instances:

   1: Sub AttachTo_ASPNETWP()
   3:     Dim attached As Boolean = False
   4:     Dim proc As EnvDTE.Process
   5:     Dim processToAttachTo As String
   7:     ' name of the process to attach to 
   8:     processToAttachTo = "w3wp.exe"
  10:     ' iterate through all processes running on the local machine 
  11:     For Each proc In DTE.Debugger.LocalProcesses
  12:         ' if the last [X] characters of the process name = name of the process... 
  13:         WriteLine(proc.Name)
  14:         If (Right(proc.Name, Len(processToAttachTo)) = processToAttachTo) Then
  15:             ' appach to the process 
  16:             proc.Attach()
  17:             ' set a flag that we've attached to the process & exit the for loop 
  18:             attached = True
  19:         End If
  20:     Next
  22:     ' if macro didn't find process running, notify user 
  23:     If attached = False Then
  24:         MsgBox(processToAttachTo & " is not running")
  25:     End If
  26: End Sub

Deploying a Web Part using SharePoint Solutions

This has been written about a ton, so I am not going to repeat the instructions I found here.

After going through this manually a few times, I started to automate the process

I created four batch files, the first is build.bat:

   1: call deletesolution.bat
   2: call createsolution.bat
   3: call deploysolution.bat
   4: copy "C:\MCS EPM Global Practice\Projects\Internal\Innovation Process Management\Web Parts\Idea Browser\Idea Browser\bin\Debug\Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts.IdeaBrowser.pdb" "C:\Inetpub\wwwroot\wss\VirtualDirectories\80\bin\Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts.IdeaBrowser.pdb"

The deletesolution.bat file looks like this:

   1: @SET STSADM="c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\12\bin\stsadm.exe"
   3: %STSADM% -o retractsolution -name Ipm.IdeaBrowser.wsp -immediate -allcontenturls
   4: %STSADM% -o execadmsvcjobs
   5: %STSADM% -o deletesolution -name Ipm.IdeaBrowser.wsp

And createsolution.bat file looks like this:

   1: @echo off
   2: if EXIST package\Ipm.IdeaBrowser.wsp del package\Ipm.IdeaBrowser.wsp
   4: makecab /f cab.ddf

And finally, the deploysolution.bat file looks like this:

   1: @SET STSADM="c:\program files\common files\microsoft shared\web server extensions\12\bin\stsadm.exe"
   3: %STSADM% -o addsolution -filename package\Ipm.IdeaBrowser.wsp
   4: %STSADM% -o deploysolution -name Ipm.IdeaBrowser.wsp -immediate -url "http://portal.fabrikam.com/" -allowCasPolicies
   5: %STSADM% -o execadmsvcjobs

The output looks like this:

   1: ------ Rebuild All started: Project: Idea Browser, Configuration: Debug Any CPU ------
   2: C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v3.5\Csc.exe /noconfig /nowarn:1701,1702 /errorreport:prompt /warn:4 /define:DEBUG;TRACE /reference:"C:\Program Files\Common Files\Microsoft Shared\Web Server Extensions\12\ISAPI\Microsoft.SharePoint.dll" /reference:C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.Data.dll /reference:C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.dll /reference:C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.Web.dll /reference:C:\WINDOWS\Microsoft.NET\Framework\v2.0.50727\System.Xml.dll /debug+ /debug:full /filealign:512 /keyfile:key.snk /optimize- /out:obj\Debug\Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts.IdeaBrowser.dll /target:library IdeaBrowser.cs Properties\AssemblyInfo.cs
   4: Compile complete -- 0 errors, 0 warnings
   5: Idea Browser -> C:\MCS EPM Global Practice\Projects\Internal\Innovation Process Management\Web Parts\Idea Browser\Idea Browser\bin\Debug\Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts.IdeaBrowser.dll
   6: cd C:\MCS EPM Global Practice\Projects\Internal\Innovation Process Management\Web Parts\Idea Browser\
   7: call build.bat
   8: call cscript.exe c:\windows\system32\iisapp.vbs /a "SharePoint - 80" /r
  11: Timer job successfully created.
  14: Executing .
  15: Executing solution-deployment-ipm.ideabrowser.wsp-0.
  16: Operation completed successfully.
  19: Operation completed successfully.
  21: Microsoft (R) Cabinet Maker - Version 5.2.3790.0
  22: Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved..
  24: Parsing directives
  25: Parsing directives (cab.ddf: 1 lines)
  26: 20,103 bytes in 6 files              
  27: Executing directives
  28:   0.00% - manifest.xml (1 of 6)
  29:   0.00% - Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts.IdeaBrowser.dll (2 of 6)
  30:   0.00% - Mcs.Epm.Ipm.WebParts.IdeaBrowser.pdb (3 of 6)
  31:   0.00% - Ipm.IdeaBrowser\Elements.xml (4 of 6)        
  32:   0.00% - Ipm.IdeaBrowser\Feature.xml (5 of 6) 
  33:   0.00% - IdeaBrowser.webpart (6 of 6)        
  34: 100.00% - IdeaBrowser.webpart (6 of 6)
  35:   0.00% [flushing current folder]     
  36:  93.01% [flushing current folder]
  37:   5.88% [flushing current folder]
  38: 100.00% [flushing current folder]
  39: Total files:              6      
  40: Bytes before:        20,103
  41: Bytes after:          4,153
  42: After/Before:            20.66% compression
  43: Time:                     0.04 seconds ( 0 hr  0 min  0.04 sec)
  44: Throughput:             490.80 Kb/second
  46: Operation completed successfully.
  49: Timer job successfully created.
  52: Executing .
  53: Executing solution-deployment-ipm.ideabrowser.wsp-0.
  54: Operation completed successfully.
  56: Microsoft (R) Windows Script Host Version 5.6
  57: Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation 1996-2001. All rights reserved.
  59: Connecting to server ...Done.
  60: Application pool 'SharePoint - 80' recycled successfully.
  61: ========== Rebuild All: 1 succeeded, 0 failed, 0 skipped ==========

So, at the end of build, I have my webpart deployed and read for debugging.

More later.

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